ERNEST DUDLEY is an English author known to millions of crime fiction addicts for his weekly Armchair Detective radio broadcasts, and also for the Doctor Morelle series of stories (and radio plays) in which the shrewd detective-psychiatrist solved countless mysteries with the aid of his assistant, Miss Frayle. Dudley has revealed that Dr. Morelle has his genesis in a coal cellar in Bristol in 1940, where the author (who already worked for the BBC Variety Department) sat out German air-raids.
"The character of Dr. Morelle," Mr Dudley has remarked, "was finally evolved from my memories of the silent film star Erich von Stroheim - who incidentally nearly played the part years later in a film version - and whom Hollywood used to bill as 'The Man You Love to Hate.' In order to point up the self-opinionated biting sarcasm of Dr Morelle, I gave him as a foil a pretty feather brained secretary, Miss Frayle. And so, Dr Morelle was let loose on millions of unsuspecting listeners, the first fictional character, I think, whom people hated so much they simply had to tune in and listen to him."